Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Photography Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Camera Gear – Week 4 – Gadgets

I’ve been having the MOST fun with my photography students!! Last week we photographed this darling little baby boy.  Check out the full photography blog here Karrie’s Photography.


If you haven’t signed up for your photography mentoring you can do so at the Shop.

This week’s Tips & Tricks topic is Camera Gear.  What to bring on location.  

In addition to your camera body, lenses, and off camera flash, photography gadgets you may need would be; batteries, camera cards, meters, umbrellas, lighting stands, reflectors, flash diffusers, lens filters, lens hoods, straps & bags.

As you know by now I like to keep things simple.  I bring two camera bodies, three lenses, one off camera speedlight, extra batteries, extra camera cards, and my bags and props.

I highly recommend that you get a camera bag on wheels. I personally travel to parks, beaches, farms, homes, and urban areas for my photography sessions.  I actually have all of my camera gear in my favorite camera bag from the Canon Gear link below and then put that bag inside a bag on wheels.  It has been so convenient since I added those wheels!

As far as fancy gadgets I don’t personally bring very many.  I do not like lens filters.  I’d rather have control over my filters in Photoshop.  I do not use a meter because I eyeball the natural light and adjust my camera often and accordingly.  I do have a lens hood on all of my lenses.  I also have a couple duffusers for my flash when I need it.  I will bring a couple white boards if I’m not wearing white.

Some cool links:

Red Tag Camera

Canon Gear

Hold Fast Gear

Flash Diffusers

I hope this helps with your photographic journey.  Remember to be yourself.  This is a short blog today because being me means I don’t carry a lot of gear.  But that doesn’t mean you won’t!  Keep being you and build your art and business around your own preferences and comfort zone.

Have a Terrific Tuesday!




Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Photography Tips & Tricks Tuesday

It’s Tips & Tricks Tuesday!!  YEAH!!!

Camera Equipment – Week 3 – Lighting

Although all cameras will come up with a pop up flash you will want to purchase an off camera flash as well. I recommend starting with a simple inexpensive speedlight and just as with lenses increase your collection from there.  As usual I stick with Canon or Nikon for the most part however there are other popular brands out there.

To be honest though I do not use flash a lot at all so I’m not going to pretend I am an off-camera lighting guru and go into a lot about it here. I keep my speedlight on automatic and have it there for emergencies during a portrait session such as super cloudy days or in shady areas.  I also use it for wedding receptions and some churches but even then I can do without it if I want. I just posted a wedding where I liked the dark moody romantic dancing photos without the flash better than the bright flashlit ones.  Check it out here Wedding Photography.  I do not know anything about studio lighting either.  I probably use natural light 75% of the time and flash 25%. Why??

The sun is free and easy. I love free and easy. 

For a long time I was trying to be good at a bunch of things instead of focusing on one thing, getting really good at it, and moving on.

For instance I am not a scientist my any means, let’s face it. People have gifts in different ways and science and math are not mine. I am an artist at heart. I love to bake, cook, craft, photograph, quilt, draw, and paint. I find beauty in nature and colors and people and animals. So when my uncle, an amazing photographer and mentor, talks about flash and photographic lighting my brain literally stops working.

Photography is as much a science as an art.

My work with a flash is beautiful don’t get me wrong. My uncle describes it as a “happy accident” which is completely true!! Somehow my artistic view that particular day on that particular subject just makes sense and works without too much thought about science, that’s my happy accident!! However, lighting is the most crucial element of photography. You need either the sun, the moon, or artificial light that’s just a fact! So I’m constantly learning. I read everything I can get my hands on about photography, take classes, read blogs, follow amazing photographers, go to the library, watch YouTube tutorials everything you can think of including reading the entire manual of any camera I buy! While it’s true I grew up learning about art and photography from family members, was well educated in CT, took art and photography classes in high school, developed film in a darkroom, and took business classes in college, you can never stop learning! You can never know everything! And when it comes to something that is half scientific, probably more than half, I know practically nothing!!

So I realized I had to stop driving myself crazy! I had to be myself.

I may not be knowledgeable in the field of science but I certainly know where to find the sun and the moon! Although these two celestial bodies are constantly in motion you can and must use them to manipulate your photography. I decided to focus on natural light photography for now (although I always have a mounted flash with me and use it if necessary). The thing is there are so many factors in any form of art that you can be good at, you just may not be good at all of them at the same time. I’m good with people. I’m good at capturing an emotion at a specific time. I’m good at close-ups. I’m good with babies and toddlers. I’m good at making people feel relaxed in front of the camera. So making all of these things work around the sun is way easier for me than having to fuss over lighting and flashes at this moment in my life. I don’t want my work to be a happy accident. I want to know what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. So I’ve had the most fun learning about backlighting, how to use open shade, sunny 16 settings, shooting wide open, and the golden hour.

The Golden Hour is a great time for natural light photography.

This is the time period shortly after sunrise and before sunset. Sunrise may be a difficult time to get clients to get up and meet you but it can be ideal for soft lighting and manipulating cool colors and tones. Sunset is much more ideal because your clients will be much happier to meet you after dinner in the Summer and before dinner in the Fall and Winter. Basically when the sun is near the horizon, the intensity of direct sunlight is reduced and more shadows are produced creating softer lighting. Your subject will not be squinting and you will not have sun highlights on their faces.

You may want to invest in some reflectors as a way to bounce light in difficult situations.

I personally just wear white.  

YUP.  I wear white on every session I go to.  I use myself as a big reflector.  I have also used plain old white project boards.  Their a couple dollars and I can grab them and easily set them up if I’m not wearing white.

In conclusion, while you DO need to light your subject in one way or another, don’t run out and spend loads of money on expensive lighting equipment just yet.  Invest in a simple inexpensive off camera flash and practice using the sun when you can.

Most Importantly; whatever new endevor you are on or educational adventure you are taking; BE YOU!

I hope these lighting tips helped you!

Have a Terrific Tuesday





Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Photography Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Camera Equipment – Week 2 – Lenses

When choosing your lenses there are many questions you need to ask yourself.

What are you shooting?

Where are you shooting?

How much light do you want in your photo?

How far away will your subject be?

How wide do you want your angles?

Do you need prime lenses allowing higher Fstops or zoom lenses with lower Fstops?

These are all things to consider when choosing your lenses.

Prime: Prime lenses allow you to open your aperture and let in more light. They will help you create a sharp portrait with a blurred out background and even capture that bokeh lighting effect many creatives love.

Zoom:  Zoom lenses can be extremely convenient if you need the simplicity of using one lens without the hassle of switching lenses.  You can also be further away and capture both a wide angle and a close up.

Here is a sample wedding where I used all three lenses:

50mm.  Prime lenses are great for close ups and portraits because they capture great catchlights in the eyes and create a soft blurred background.


75-300mm.  If you are in the back of a church or even in a middle pew you will want a zoom lense to capture the first kiss.


28-135mm.  Great lens for capturing wide angle artistic portraits that show your subject and the entire environment.


28-135mm.  Leave the same lens on and capture a closeup.


A couple more samples:

This winter mini session of these brothers was shot entirely with a 50mm.

This little garden glamour girl was shot entirely with a 28-135mm.

So it’s really a matter of preference as to which lenses you choose to use.  Here is a list of some of the best lenses for portrait photography.  There are a lot more variations and different brands.  As I mentioned before I stick with Canon or Nikon.

35mm Prime

50mm Prime

85mm Prime

100mm Prime

24-70mm Zoom

24-105 mm Zoom

28-135mm Zoom

70-200mm Zoom

75-300mm Zoom

If you have any questions feel free to email me or if you would like one on one mentoring join me over at the SHOP

As always have a Terrific Tuesday!!


Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Camera Equipment

Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Camera Equipment – Week 1 – Camera Body

Going Old School

So I’d like to share some thoughts with you about camera equipment today. I want to make it clear that while it is essential that you purchase a DSLR if you are attempting to earn money from your photography, it is NOT essential that it be the latest and greatest $6,000 camera right off the bat.  One of the first camera’s I invested in five years ago was a Canon EOS 10D.  This is an official DSLR.  However, it came on the market in 2003 which made it ten years old by the time I purchased it.  Now I had been shooting for twenty years as a hobbyist, so I started on film, then went digital with a Kodak Easyshot for easy photos of my babies.  Then I moved up to the Canon Powershot.   Then a Canon Rebel Sl1.  When I finally made the decision to go pro and start charging I knew I had to upgrade to a DSLR camera body that allowed or manual shooting and interchangeable lenses.  However, I was kind of upgrading and downgrading at the same time because my other cameras were always new and this camera was ten years old!!  I was a single mom and my budget was literally $300.  I bought the Canon EOS 10D with 18-55 kit lens for $175 on Ebay!  I then added the coveted 50mm portrait lens for $100.  A few months later I added the 75-300mm for wedding photography.  This is really what I did, no joke.  You never want to go in debt for your business.  So decide on a budget and build your equipment around that budget.

If you look at last week’s Photographing Connections article, the photo of the baby with the big blue eyes snuggling with his mama was taken with this camera. It’s still one of my favorites. I also took this Fall session below of a fellow single mom and her son with the 10D.  The color, quality, clarity, and catch lights are all good and mom’s favorite was the barn photo with this little guys every day stoic expression.  Your clients are paying for you and your artistic vision not for what kind of equipment you use.  They will not even know the difference nor do they care, that’s what their paying you for.

Now I have upgraded since my 10D days but I used that old camera for a couple years and still have it as a back up or to train new assistants with to this day.  So while I highly recommend investing in an official DSLR camera body from Canon or Nikon if you are going to start charging, do a little research and find out if you can go back a few years for your camera body and invest in newer lenses.  I actually like ordering from both the official Canon and Nikon websites because your product is guaranteed, you have an official receipt, you can purchase a warranty, and it’s just nice to feel that sense of security.  They also offer packaged discounts and certified refurbished products.  With that being said since I am a camera tech geek, I do have a favorite Ebay vendor that I will share with you and I have purchased local equipment of Craigslist.  When purchasing off Craigslist please be safe; never invite people to your home and always meet in a public parking lot.

Red Tag Camera – My favorite & now only Ebay Store.



For help or additional information on purchasing your camera body feel free to sign up for Photography Mentoring over at the SHOP

Have a Terrific Tuesday


Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Photographing Connections

Tips & Tricks Tuesday



Today I want to talk about photographing connections.  This is what photography is all about. Making an emotional connection with your subjects and in turn allowing your subjects to make an emotional connection with each other.  What are you feeling?  What are they feeling?

In order to do this you as the photographer need to be connected to your art, your craft, your environment, and most importantly your subjects.  If you are connected you will naturally capture their connection.  Well how do you connect with your art?  How do you connect with your craft?  How do you connect with your environment?  And most importantly how do you connect with a perfect stranger?

YOUR ART:  As artists we have to love our own work in order for anyone else to love it.  We have to be confident that we are the professionals.  Our client hired us because they trust that we can professionally photograph them in a way that they could not do themselves. Even if you are just starting out you picked up that camera for a reason.  Something or someone encouraged you to go for your goals.  Shoot for the starts.  That something motivated you or that person believed in you and you need to believe in yourself and remain motivated.  Find ways to always remind yourself why you are doing this.  Why did you start.  Why have you continued.  How are you using your art to give back to your client.

YOUR CRAFT:  Photography is not only an art whether we like it or not it is also a science.  I know many of us artists cringe at the thought of science.  But where do you think your light is coming from?  If you are using natural light you are using the sun.  If you are using off camera lighting you are using a scientific invention.  You need to know you are going to manipulate the lighting in your environment or the lighting you bring to light your subject and how that lighting will reflect into the camera.  You also need to learn the scientific technology of your camera.  Your settings.  Your lenses.  You have to master your craft to the point that it is like part of your body.  You know exactly where everything is and how everything works.

YOUR ENVIRONMENT:  As we’ve talked about in the previous weeks you should have your session planned out.  So you will know exactly where you are shooting.  You should have visited the location at the exact time of day you will be shooting so you can plan your lighting accordingly and have back up plans for different weather conditions.  If you are shooting outdoors why are you shooting there?  Did you recommend the location?  If so why?  What do you love about it?  Is it a garden?  Do you love the colors and the romance that the flowers represent?  Is it on a beach? Do you love the calm peaceful blue ocean? What areas of the location are you going to incorporate into your clients session.  If  your client chose the location, why?  What do they love about it.  What about it is meaningful to them.

YOUR SUBJECTS:  How can you connect with a perfect stranger?  If your subject is a child do you have children?  Nieces and nephews?  What makes them laugh.  What makes them comfortable?  What do you love about all children.  Do you love their carefree innocence?  Their ability to have fun no matter where they are?  If you have no children in your life we can all remember being a child. Go back to your childhood.  Remember what it was like to feel fun and fancy free.  You can relate to any person you photograph.  Are they parents like you?  Are they grandparents?  If your not a parent do you remember special moments with your parents and grandparents.  If they are teenagers can you remember your teen years?

When you incorporate your own connections into your session your clients will feel at ease and will naturally connect with each other causing the perfect moment to create an amazing photograph.

I hope this helps you on  your next photographic journey.  For more on this great topic of connection SUBSCRIBE HERE

Have a Terrific Tuesday


Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Photography Tips & Tricks

It’s Tips & Tricks Tuesday.

This week my tip is: Bring Blankets!!!


You know how I’m always talking about keeping things simple.  Well how much simpler can it get than a blanket?

I bring blankets on every photo shoot I go on.  I color coordinate the blankets I bring with my clients wardrobe choices, background setups, baby wraps and hats, and children’s toys. Blankets are super awesome for children of all ages as well as for adults and entire families.

So how do you know what the family is wearing, what the the background coloring will be, what a baby will be photographed in, and what toys the children will have.  Your being proactive.  Your planning.  Your preparing.  Your Passionate about making their session as amazing as it can be.  See how all of these blogs are fitting together? You want to be meeting with parents and clients ahead of time to prepare and essentially design their session together.  Help them with color coordinated wardrobe ideas.  Ask them what theme or color scheme they would like to design their setup and background around.  Help them choose toys and props around their theme and color choices.  You may think, well I don’t shoot in a studio.  Even if your going lifestyle, which I love BTW, you want to design around your clients house or choice of location.  You can design around the baby’s nursery or the colors they decorate in.  If your always on location you want design your session around the best areas for lighting at the park, beach, or city you are shooting at. Then you choose simple and easy props, such as blankets, that coordinate.

If you’d like to see more ideas and samples of how I use blankets on location be sure to SUBSCRIBE for this week’s freebie Designing with Blankets.

See this sweet baby’s full garden session at Karrie’s Photography

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Photography Tips & Tricks

It’s Tips & Tricks Tuesday!

If you haven’t posted your photography questions hop on over to Facebook and do so.

This weeks Freebie is Creating with Crates. A PDF with some great ideas for using crates with  your session setups.  Be sure to Subscribe for our Newsletter to receive this weeks Freebie.  Subscribe


We talked a lot about being prepared last week.  Well one way to be prepared is to plan your sessions. Plan your theme, colors, props, toys, blankets.  One way I love to use my creativity in planning a session is by using crates.

I like to make things simple and have more than one use for anything I buy.  Crates are so much fun to use and can make things easier because you can throw a lot of your stuff inside the crate while your carrying it to your clients home or the park or beach.  Their so versatile and useful.  They come in all sizes and colors.  They can be totally vintage with the right antiques strategically placed around them.  They can be brand new and colorful with a little spray paint.  They can be used for newborns, babies, toddlers and preschoolers with all kinds of setups and colors.  With a little imagination your options when using crates as a prop are endless.

Remember if you would like to see how I have used crates in my own sessions join my Newsletter community and Subscribe for your free copy of Creating with Crates.

To see more of my photography sessions visit Karrie’s Photography and check out my photography blog.

Have a Terrific Tuesday!!!